Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) objected to a motion to pass a bill by unanimous consent that would give every struggling American making less than $75,000/ year a direct payment of $1,200, citing concerns about the national debt.
“We have families in need. There’s no doubt about it. I completely support some kind of program targeted for small businesses so they can reemploy, so they can reopen, to restore capital. What I fear we’re going to do with this bipartisan package, and what the senator from Missouri is talking about is the same thing, a shotgun approach,” Johnson said on the Senate floor, according to Axios.
He continued: “We will not have learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed, very massive, earlier relief packages. We’re just going to do more of the same, another trillion dollars. It takes our debt from $27.4 trillion to $28.4 trillion in a couple months. With doing virtually no revisions, no improvements.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) teamed up with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) to push for the $1,200 direct payments in the next relief package. The number currently being discussed is $600.
According to The Hill Sanders and Hawley tried to get the $1,200 direct payment into a one-week continuing resolution (CR) that passed last week or part of a sweeping deal to provide year-end coronavirus relief and fund the government until Oct. 1, which is still being negotiated. If Congress doesn’t pass the agreement by the end of Friday, there will be a government shutdown.
Hawley said he and Sanders would return to the floor later Friday to try for a second time to pass their bill. Both senators have said they will block an extension to government funding when it expires tonight unless direct payments are in the relief package.
“I’m not going to allow a CR to go through until I know what’s actually in the package,” Hawley said.